SPECIAL: Have Your Prayed for Your Bishops Today?
by Fr. Robert J. Carr
Have you kicked the bishops when they were down? All of us at times need fraternal correction including these men, but, we are not shouldered with the responsibility of leadership, as are they. Yet, God also calls us to support them as his appointed leaders. This does not mean to be docile to a situation that is contrary to the deposit of faith, rather we need to offer a load of prayer and Christian charity.
The Church is not a corporation, She is a community of faith. However, in the United States due to our corporate law, She is often run like a corporation. If we allow her to be run like one, then, of course, she will be. When a corporate executive falls from favor, people criticize him and eventually force him from office. However, in a community of faith when we allow that to happen to our Bishops then we are saying "Our Church is as much a corporation as is Disney, IBM and General Motors to name a few." However, she is not a corporation, she is community of faith.
Well what can we do? First since we are a community of faith, act in ways that a community of faith would act. What is that? Pray. Our Bishops need prayer and lots of it. Do you know which Bishops need the most amount of prayer? Those who are part of the support staff of the Diocesan Bishop. Why? They are often the men in charge of many of the daily operations for the whole diocese. If there is any man whom the powers against us would want to see fail at his service to the Lord, it is any one of these. Sometimes he is a priest but not a Bishop, he still needs just as much prayer. (As do all priests as well.)
Let's go back one. Many people feel our society is kicking Catholics. Of course they are, but look at the words of St. Paul: "Our battle is not against human forces but against principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in regions above." There is no other person that those forces would want to see fail than our bishops. They will feel a huge amount of pressure to make decisions that might tip the Church in favor, ever so slightly, of those principalities and powers. They need our prayers, and then so does the one who holds them accountable, the man we call the Ordinary the Bishop of the Diocese.
If you go to a famous fast food hamburger chain and ask what they offer, they will tell you hamburgers, fries at lowest price and the highest quality they can. Go to a gas station and ask the same question. The highest quality fuel for the lowest price they will say.
What does the Church offer? Neither food nor fuel. Yet, it offers wisdom, the wisdom of God for free by the way. God works through his Church to bring his wisdom to all those who are part of his community. That wisdom allows us to be the Salt of the Earth and the Light to the Word. The Bishops do not offer wisdom as much as the avenue to gain the wisdom. They, like the hamburger stand, are not food, they are cement between the stones in the building that offers the food. We are the stones by the way. God offers the wisdom.
If we keep seeing problems with the building and do nothing about it, eventually it will collapse and no one will get the food. This food does not energize as much as inspire us with Divine wisdom, the light of truth. Our devotion to our living Lord bestows on us the wisdom to live the truth and lead others to do the same.
You and I need to do all we can to keep that system going and we do that by supporting the building which is the Church including the bishops. Make sure your bishops know you stand behind them. Make sure you are praying for them. (If I was an Archbishop for example I would request a religious order to have someone at least during waking hours make sure they are praying the rosary for the bishops, especially the vicar general and if possible doing so in front of the Blessed Sacrament.) If they are making incorrect decisions, do not be intimidated by them. You may need to call them to task, if you were so called to do so. Do not kick them when they are down. Remember, the one whom we ultimately serve is the Lord.
It is time to stop standing by as people attack our Bishops when they are down. We need to pray and support them as Christ has called us to do. After all, even St. Paul recognized his need for the prayer of faithful.
http://www.catholicismanew.org MA, US
Fr. Robert J. Carr - Parochial Vicar, 617 542-5682
Bishops, Prayer, Crisis
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